English playwright Tom Stoppard has made a career out of writing absurdist tragicomedies, full of mistaken identities, epigrammatic dialogue, predetermined chaos and other metaphysical, metatheatrical mischiefs. He would approve then, probably, of the Sierra Madre Playhouse’s latest production: his Tony Award-winning Arcadia. It’s not so much about the San Gabriel Valley city of 60,000 as it is about time, knowledge, order and disorder. It also has believable characters with real emotions—a rare thing in Stoppard’s oeuvre. Arcadia is set in an English country house, in both the early 1800s and the present day (1993, originally). Things happen in this English country house involving a young math genius, her tutor and family, and an unseen Lord Byron; 200 years later the house’s modern residents, including a Byron scholar, try to figure out what those things were. Synopsis has its limits; could you guess, from the above, that Arcadia is supposed to be a riot?
Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia
June 18 – July 31
Fridays & Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m.
Sierra Madre Playhouse
87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre
$20 general; $17 students and seniors